Thursday 11 April 2024

Maldon Bowling Club: An Award-Winning Tale

Maldon Bowling Club An Award Winning Tale Mark Piper with Trophy centre website.jpg

Mark Piper, the Greenkeeper at Maldon Bowling Club, Essex, has overseen a remarkable transformation in the quality of the club's green. Thanks to a range of Dennis and SISIS machinery, particularly the SISIS Supaturfman and the Dennis FT510, the once-struggling surface has become a point of pride, earning Mark the prestigious Bowls England Greenkeeper of the Year Award.

Three years ago, Maldon Bowling Club's green was plagued by bare patches and moss infestations, rendering it barely playable. The situation was disheartening for long-standing club members, prompting Mark to take action.

“It was very demoralising, especially for the people that had been at Maldon for a long time - this club has been a big part of their lives,” says Mark. “The local authority was managing the maintenance, and we weren’t really getting anywhere with them. I thought that the only way forward was to do it ourselves.”

Recognising the need for comprehensive maintenance solutions, he turned to a range of Dennis and SISIS machinery from the Howardson Group.

Key to the transformation was the SISIS Supaturfman, an independently powered heavy-duty aerator renowned for its effectiveness in sports turf maintenance. Mark credits the Supaturfman with tackling the persistent moss problem by addressing its underlying causes rather than merely treating the symptoms. Through regular aeration, the green became healthier and more resilient, laying the foundation for long-term improvement.

Complementing the Supaturfman, the Dennis FT510 emerged as an integral part of Maldon Bowling Club's maintenance equipment. Offering a 51cm working width and versatile interchangeable cassettes, the FT510 provided unparalleled flexibility and performance.

Maldon’s members are particularly impressed with the verticutting cassette according to Mark: “The more experienced bowlers like it when I use the verticutter because it gives them the pace that they want.”

Mark also highlights the FT510’s roller clutch drive and variable clip rate, which ensure a smooth finish and precise control, essential for achieving the desired playing surface quality.
Mark’s dedication, coupled with the reliability of the equipment, propelled Maldon Bowling Club to new heights, earning accolades and fostering a thriving community of bowlers.

“Membership has gone up approximately 30% in the three years that we have been doing the green, and I like to think our work has contributed towards that,” says Mark. “The club is certainly getting a much better reputation and it was nice to be able to turn it around – the Dennis and SISIS equipment has massively helped.

“What I would say to clubs who find themselves in a similar position to what we found ourselves in, is to try and go it alone – it is not as difficult as people think. If you have dedication and commitment, then the Howardson Group can help you with the rest, in terms of equipment, advice and training.”

Despite the remarkable progress, Mark remains committed to ongoing enhancement. Challenges such as excessive sand content in certain areas present opportunities for further refinement. Hosting prestigious tournaments like the Essex County 4's Finals attests to the green's newfound acclaim.

Through the integration of the SISIS Supaturfman and the Dennis FT510, Mark not only revitalised the green but also the spirit of the club. His story serves as an inspiration to greenkeepers everywhere, demonstrating that with determination and the right tools, even the most daunting challenges can be overcome.